Agenda and minutes

Audit and Risk Committee - Friday, 18th November, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Teams Meeting. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 

No. Item



To receive and consider the attached Schedule of Correspondence and any recommendations thereon (below).




Chair welcomes Officers, Members of the Authority and members of the public watching via the livestream to the first meeting of the newly formed Audit & Risk Committee. 


He apologised for the slightly late start and noted a need to reorder the agenda (permitted under Standing Order 7.4.) so that Item 6 would now be Item 11, and Item 8 would now be Item 4 in order to facilitate officer attendance.  



Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest from Members relating to items on the agenda.  Members’ attention is drawn to the sheet attached to the attendance sheet and the need to record their declarations verbally and in writing, specifying the nature of the interest.

If Members have declared an interest in an item please ensure that you inform the Chair when you are leaving the room, so that this can be recorded in the minutes.




No declarations were received; however, the Chair noted that he sat on the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime panel. It was stressed that this was a personal, rather than a prejudicial interest, and that he was being over cautious in raising it to be transparent (the Authority HQ sits in the Dyfed Powys Police building). 


Public Speaking

To give opportunity for members of the public to address the meeting in accordance with the Authority’s Public Speaking Scheme.



No requests were received. 


Annual Head of Internal Audit Report 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 301 KB

Additional documents:


Internal Auditors, TIAA, highlighted that they had been unable to provide an opinion on governance in this report, because of external work being done in this area, and that this was an exceptional situation. 


Members were concerned that a lack of progress on recommendations was a key risk and were keen for assurance that improvements would be made. 


TIAA confirmed that a follow up audit had not yet been scheduled, as the report had only just been signed off on, but that it was front of mind, and they would be looking to schedule this imminently. 


Members were assured that key appointments had been made over the last 6-9 months to help progress these recommendations, but that all involved were aware of the need to balance making progress against the capacity issues the Authority is continuing to face 


RESOLVED: Approve the Annual Report for 2021/22  



Buildings Management and Maintenance Report 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Additional documents:


Director of Planning & Place provided updates on the recommendations set out in the report: 

·                     A formal Buildings Management Policy and Procedure is progress. 

·                     An Operations Board had been formed to address and report on these issues. 

·                     The priority recommendations from the inspection reports had been addressed, several recommendations were due to be implemented, and the low priority ones would be addressed as soon as possible. 


Members were reminded that the accommodation of HQ did not factor into this report. They were also advised that the recommendations of this report had not raised any issues around insurance that Officers were aware of but that staff capacity had impacted progress. 


Members were keen to receive additional information on how the newly formed Operations Board worked and who it reported to and were advised that the Building Management Policy, when complete, would address both these questions. 


RESOLVED: Approve the Buildings Management and Maintenance Internal Audit Report 



Internal Audit Follow Up Report pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Additional documents:


Internal Auditors, TIAA, noted that only 3/12 recommendations had been implemented. While this was disappointing, it was understandable given the issues the Authority had been up against, and better progress was expected in the upcoming year. 


Members were directed to the Audit Wales Report of 2021 for a better understanding of why better progress had not been made. The CEO stressed that the Authority was now focussed on moving forward and developing a single integrated action plan to help progress on recommendations, to ensure we are in the best place to deliver on our ambitious National Park Management Plan. 


RESOLVED: Approve the Follow Up Audit (2021/2022)



Annual Plan for 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 216 KB

Additional documents:


Internal Auditors, TIAA, noted that usually this would be a three-year plan. The decision had been made to focus on just the year ahead to allow the Authority to get back on track. 


The Authority’s Welsh Government appointed consultant for governance highlighted the importance of syncing the work TIAA had scheduled with the work he had been brought on board to do. Integration was essential as resources are limited.  


The Chair stressed that Members also had a role to play in this work and asked for an update on the Welsh Government appointed Members, as these vacant roles reduced the amount of support current Members could offer – CEO advised that this recruitment process was on track for January onboarding. 


RESOLVED: Approve the Annual Internal Audit Plan for 2022/23 



Audit Wales Action Plan pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Additional documents:


Members were introduced to the Welsh Government appointed consultant who had been brought on board to help progress this work. 


Quarterly meetings of the Audit & Risk Committee would not be sufficient to make good progress, so a Working Group was formed. WLGA guidance noted that smaller, more agile groups are considered best practise in this area. Work done by this Group would be reported back to the Committee regularly. Self-nominations were received by Committee Chair, Cllr William Powell, Cllr Huw Rees and Cllr Simon Howarth. A vote was not required in line with the Scheme of Delegation. 


Following the formation of the Working Group it was suggested that it would be sensible to try and postpone the Audit Wales follow up audit (currently set at December) to enable the Group to make some progress in this area. This idea was discussed and endorsed by Members – under the Scheme of Delegation no vote was required. 



2021-22 Statement of Accounts - Audit Wales' Oral Update pdf icon PDF 105 KB


This item is due to go to NPA for approval, but given the remit of this committee, Audit Wales are presenting to them as well, for information. 


It was noted that the Audit of Accounts was now complete, with three important caveats: 

·                     While the content has been signed off on, Audit Wales were still waiting on Officers to provide a clean document with both the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) and the Statement of Accounts (SoA) pulled together. 

·                     Audits are considered open until final sign off from the Auditor General 

·                     With them still being open until this sign off from the Auditor General, local Electors within the park boundaries can still raise objections or questions right up until the Audit is closed. 

The key messaging from this presentation was that Audit Wales propose an unqualified opinion, which is positive. It was also noted that although this years Audit has been drawn out, as a result of staff turnover and the loss of historical knowledge across the Authority, incoming Officers had been supportive and helpful, and that the Accounts were on track to be signed off ahead of the imposed deadline. 


After certification Audit Wales will produce a report with their recommendations, which management can approve or reject, this report will also consider previous years recommendations. This report will go to the next meeting of the Audit & Risk Committee. 


The CEO and Chair both recorded their thanks to Audit Wales and acknowledged the work of Officers. Their commitment to learning from this year’s Audit in order to improve the process for next year was also stressed.? 



Risk Management pdf icon PDF 451 KB


Members were concerned about the risks around accommodation – CEO advised that this was front of mind and steps were being taken to mitigate: 

·                     Running a study on accommodation needs and working with a consultant to pull together some high-level options available to us. 

·                     Meeting with current Landlord to better understand lease arrangements and timescales for departure from HQ. 

·                     Part of the Powys PSB task and finish group of public bodies looking at how we can partner with other PSB members on accommodation requirements. 


Members were assured that SLAs with Local Authorities were reviewed regularly and while there was no indication that these would impact this year’s budget, it is an area of key risk for upcoming budget setting. A model for charging that is fit for purpose is essential to mitigate this risk for all SLA’s. 


Following a meeting with the Minister, the Authority expect that budget work should start to trickle down following the Chancellor’s Statement. However, this will be a difficult budget given the situation in public finances, and this will most likely result in delays. It is likely that we will receive our Welsh Government settlement in early 2023. 


The Chair commended the work of the IT team in bringing a red risk down to an amber risk, following the cyber-attack on the Authority. 



Compliments, Complaints and Freedom of Information Updates pdf icon PDF 233 KB

Additional documents:


Members asked for more information about the compliment procedure for Officers, and it was noted that this is an area the Executive Board are keen to work on to ensure the good work of Officers is recognised. Reward and recognition would therefore be a key part of the upcoming Wellbeing Strategy. 


Any Other Business

Any other business that the Chair considers of sufficient urgency and has been

notified to him in advance.



No other business was raised. 


Access to Information

RECOMMENDATION: to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 14 in accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 12, 13, 14 ac 16 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.



RESOLVED: to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 14 in accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 12, 13, 14 ac 16 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 


Legal Risk Update